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How To Connect To Your Audience (Even After You’re Dead)

No matter how powerful, smart, inspiring, or hilarious your Message is— it’s ineffective if no one is listening. As a performer and business owner, your relationship to your audience is everything. It doesn’t matter whether that audience consists of clients, customers, web surfers, or even someone looking at your grave – if no one pays attention, do you really exist?
Just last week, at my NYC “Message of You” Workshop, I asked the participants to share the Message they would want on their gravestones. Your “Message” is your life’s logline— a combo of who you are and who’s on the receiving end (mourners, grave diggers, clergy, lovers who don’t want to spring for a room). At first, my students hesitated, awkwardly trying to figure out what they might say. Some chose the “keep on laughing” route, though no one said, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” A popular Message was “Care about others!” These are fine, if you want your Message to sound like a Hallmark card. 
So how do we come up with a global Message that inspires others while keeping our individuality? Walk through a Jewish cemetery and you might think the Message is already carved into the stone; they’re all the same. While trying to find my mother’s grave, I stopped seven times as I read, “Beloved wife, mother, daughter.”  Jewish cemeteries are notorious for having a pretty uniform layout and it’s not like you can say ‘turn right at the mausoleum and a left at the 6 foot statue of Jesus’. As I walked around and read what was on the gravestones, I wondered how everyone was beloved when we know what really happens at Seders. Missing was the humor, the last dig at your spouse, the sharp retort to the Buddinsky sister-in-law. Your stone is your closing number, summing it all up, an eternal Facebook page. Your life is your Message. If ever there was a place to put “The Message of You,” it’s on your gravestone!
How do you find that inspiring Message? The pithy wrap up? Your Martin Luther King Jr. moment?…  Writing a great tombstone is just like preparing a terrific speech. You should shape your personal Message while empathizing with your audience. It’s safe to assume those in a graveyard might be in a down mood, not dissimilar from a corporate audience. So, write your Message keeping in mind the audience. 
Given this, “It’s about them” philosophy, my students started formulating powerfully transforming Messages, creating gravestones that will be wake-up calls long after they are dead. 
Some of my favorites:
“I’m laying down but you’re standing up. Make something of yourself.”
“I told you I wasn’t feeling well. Don’t ignore that pain!” 
Mine was: “What are you looking at? You’re gonna be here one day. Get out of this graveyard and live!” 
Getting to take off with something like that makes dying -- to die for.  
You don’t have to put it in stone, but what would your stone say?

25 Websites to Help You Make More Money in Between Gigs

Yesterday, over 100 million dollars was made by people without a job. How did they do it? They had something to share. Remember in grade school when you shared your sandwich with the kid next to you? Well, there are now websites that hook you up with those who want what you have (apartments, cars, theater tickets, spouses, you name it), making helping others profitable. You can earn money if you have spare time, a spare room, or a spare tire.  
Now, when I travel, I stay with delightful people in their homes, use their neighbors’ car, and call on Uber to take me to the airport.  I also make money on the home I’ve vacated, renting it out through a service that does that sort of thing. I’ve gone from spending money on vacation to making money on vacation. I even found a great graphic designer on Elance.com and found my book editor from her Craigslist ad.
So, if your Kickstarter campaign didn’t turn your venture into Google, if you’ve aged out of the workplace, or you’re waiting for your big break, here are some ways you can take advantage of the new sharing economy. 
1. Airbnb out a room—Yes, ‘Airbnb’ is now used as a verb, just like Google. If you live in or near a desirable location (you can lie about your age and your weight, but this is harder) and have an extra room (or don't mind sleeping on the couch) you can earn around $100 a night hosting travelers. Minus some fees, that brings in something like 35K a year! (Also check out: Misterbnb (a gay-friendly take on Airbnb), VacationRentalsand VRBO). 
2. Walk a dog. According to Rover.com (ready to be your best friend), you can make $40 a day by dog-sitting. Take in two dogs and do the math. If you commit to 4 days a week, that comes to almost $17K a year. (Other ideas: DogVacayCare.com, and Fetch! Pet Care). 
3. Do you look cute in a chauffeur’s hat? Drive people around. If you’ve got a full house, you may want to get out for a few hours and go for a drive. Why not get paid for it? Uber drivers who work just a few hours a night, five nights a week earn over $26K a year. (Check out Lyft and SideCar, as well).
4. Sell stuff on eBay. We all have shoes we no longer wear, sweaters we’re sick of, a fondue set or Turkish coffee maker we never use. There are folks willing to buy just about anything. Got a hobby? If not, get one, and then start monetizing it on sites like eBayAmazon, CraigslistEtsy, and Threadflip. Even the most unlikely hobby can fatten up your bank account. Someone I know fixes old watches and then sells them on eBay, bringing in up to $100 a week. I know another guy that made $20K one year by reselling paint-by-number kits. (Hint: People love old crap. The kitschier, the better. Earn some green for that spring clean). 
5. Help someone. Lend a helping hand and TaskRabbit will put some cash in it. This site outsources people’s errands (grocery shopping, housekeeping, repairs, etc). The user lists a task and others post bids. What you earn depends on the task, but even just a few errands a week could bring in $15K a year. FancyHands and Craigslist offer a similar deal. If you're great with kids, check out Care.com and SitterCity (I know someone who charges $25 an hour—IN CASH!) If you're interested in branding and advertisement, Gigwalk is a cool way to get paid for helping companies do market research.
6. Can you write? Are you tech-savvy? Got an hour or two to spare? Become a freelancer and earn money for your skills, without even leaving the couch (or putting on pants!) Sites such as oDeskElance, PeoplePerHourFreelancer and Guru list 100,000+ jobs every month within a wide range of job categories. The best part is its flexibility: long-term, short-term, pay-by-hour, pay-by-project—there's something for literally everyone. How much you make depends on the kind of work you're doing, but even writing up a short blurb for a website can earn you $50 or more. 
Now, SHARE this with your friends and followers so they, too, can cash in on the SHARING economy!

A Rap Song For Admin Appreciation Week

Yes, the bad news is… no raise, but the good news is you’re getting appreciation. 
With over 22 million of you in the U.S. alone, working longhours with not enough pay— you really are the Gods and Goddesses of our corporations. I mean, aren’t you the ones who are supposed to stay late, make everyone else look good, and know who the hell “Bob” is when you answer the phones? (What are you, the Psychic Network? “BOB”WHOM?!) 
And what about all those computer programming headaches?This boss is PC-only. That boss is all about Apple. And for those baby-boomers who still use a freakin’ dictaphone- this isn’t Mad Men! Get with the software program!
Who has time for a love life? When you’re an admin, getting lucky is finding someone to fix your computer. It used to be when you had bugs, you called an exterminator; now you need an ET. Forget about tall, dark, and handsome; what you want is a guy with a big hard drive, a lot of RAM and knows how to use it. 
And that’s not all you put up with. One minute you’re working on the 500 “priority” deadlines your boss throws at you, and the next you’re his therapist, babysitter, or shoulder masseuse (or worse— but we won’t even go there.) 
There should be a song for you Admins. This isn’t that – but I wrote the Admin Rap Song just for you. Please forgive my lack of musical talent and soul.
So— crank this up when you’re stuck in overtime. This one’s for you! 

Using Entrepreneur Skills to Outwit Traffic

What sucks the life out of me is LA traffic. The 405 Fwy is now literary 4 or 5 MPH. So, I'm sharing with you a creative way around it.
Traffic upset may seem strange for someone, such as myself, who works out of their house. There’s not much gridlock between my bedroom and my office, one of the perks of my being an entrepreneur. I’m not sure, but I think "Entrepreneur" is a French word that translates to “one who works in underwear.” The point is, as a speaker, writer, and comic, I don’t go out much except to the airport. 
But last Friday, I made a date to meet up with a friend at my favorite restaurant on the Westside of LA -- Season’s 52. This should only take 10 minutes, but, no, this time I was in my car for a full HOUR. Apparently, where I live in Venice, California, has become the second most popular tourist destination in Southern California after Disneyland. I don’t know why people are choosing to bike along the ocean, visit marijuana stores, and look at homeless people when they could be having breakfast with Goofy. At least, the amusement park is gracious enough to put up signs reading, “From here you have a 3-month wait.” The California Highway Patrol isn’t as considerate, leaving me to discover the seasons would change before I reached my destination.
Being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic was making me nuts. Although it was a nice change of pace to have people swearing at me in languages I don’t know, at my age, I resent unproductive time. My frustration inspired an idea -- a way I would no longer get stuck in traffic, pay hefty valet parking fees (plus tip), and turn the trip into fun.  
My new love is called REDDIE. I bought an electric scooter! It’s not the Grandma old person scooter. It’s one that you charge up, then stand on, rev it up by kick starting, and zip to where you want to go. I keep it in my car and when the traffic starts to get to me, I park, unfold the scooter and wheeee!!!!  I’m a kid again. Problem solved.
I’m looking for financing as I want to set up a REDDIE-selling stand on the 405 Freeway, which should actually be called “The parking lot between L.A. and the San Fernando Valley." Instead of road rage, Angelinos will all be in better spirits. My next hurdle: what to do about bike helmet hair. 

6 Steps to Writing an Hour Speech in 48 Hours

So, you’ve got to give a presentation and you do what most people do—procrastinate. Right? I’m a professional speaker and that means I’m a pro at putting off working on material. You know how it is. You’re busy binge-watching House of Cards and of course, you’ve got to organize your spice rack—even though all you have is Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. And all of a sudden: bam! That deadline you’ve had weeks to prepare for is two days away. 

Last week, I got a big gig and in big trouble. The good news: it was a repeat client. The bad news: it was a repeat client—meaning it would be the exact same audience. It’s one thing for Prince to sing "Purple Rain" over and over again, but nobody tells a comic, “Do that joke about your grandmother and the sperm bank again.” (It's a good one, though.)
So, after a few panic attacks and martinis, it dawned on me—I wrote an entire book on writing speeches. I cracked it open, followed my own advice, and ended up writing a hit speech! (But let’s hope the client doesn't ask me back for a third time because I can’t handle the amount of Weight Watcher points in a Cucumber-Mint Martini. (Delicious. Ask me for the recipe.)
Here are the six steps to writing a great speech in a pinch:
1. Open with a story about a member of the audience. One of the WORST openings is, “Let me tell you a little bit about myself.” Boring! Who cares? Find out who will be attending and call them up so they can give you insider information about their favorite topic: themselves! Everyone loves a great story about THEMSELVES.
2. Tell them the promise of your speech, guaranteeing that they’ll leave learning stuff that will help them make more money, get healthier, or have better relationships. 
3. Establish your credibility by telling a story about how your techniques helped someone become happier, richer, healthier, sexier. Be as humble as you want out there in the real world, but on stage, don’t shy away from shameless self-promotion. Name drop that time you shared the platform with Hillary—unless you're speaking at a Tea Party event. Refer to your published works. “I remember this one time while having lunch with Oprah…” Again, unless you're at a Tea Party event. 
4. Guide them with your fab action steps. Give specific advice on how they can move forward. Give three tips and tell a story about how you discovered each of them and why they work. Any more than three steps means you’re writing the Unabomber manifesto. 
5. Give an emotional heartfelt story. Even if you are a techie talking about computer programming, you need to reveal something about yourself. Tell them that emotional story about how your first kiss lead to discovering PHP programming. 
6. Leave them with a call-to-action. In corporate speak, this is called "The Take-Aways." Give the audience a simple command to get their sh*t together. Don’t get too long winded with homework, but ask them to “imagine,” “think about…,” or “buy your book at the back of the room!”
Give your speech, sell your products, go home, and enjoy that drink. You deserve it! 
Get a free MP3 of How to Make Money from Speaking at Judycarter.com(link is external)
Join Judy at her NYC Workshop to discover The Message of You on May 2 - 3. More info(link is external)

Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.